The International Spectator, Vol. 48, No. 1, March 2013

Issue: 
48/1
Publication date: 
15/03/2013

Special Issue
Europe and Islam

Editorial Note
Erik Jones and Saskia van Genugten
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Secularism and Islam: The Theological Predicament
Olivier Roy
Does the integration of Islam in Europe presuppose a prior 'religious reformation' that would make Islam compatible with so-called 'European values'? The wave of religious revival that has touched the new generations of Muslims in Europe is not a return to traditional religious practices but, on the contrary, a recasting of religious norms and values in a European context. Fundamentalism means deculturation. What we are witnessing is a complex, and often tense, process of formatting Islam into a Western model of relationship between state, religion and society. But this process is taking place precisely at a time when Europe is not sure about its own identity: what does a 'European Christian identity' mean when churches are increasingly empty? Faith and culture have never been so disconnected.
Keywords: Islam, Europe, reformation, religion identity
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EU Foreign Policy and Political Islam: Towards a New Entente in the Post-Arab Spring Era?
Timo Behr
The rise of political Islam in the EU's southern neighbourhood represents a political as well as conceptual challenge to the EU as a foreign policy actor. In the past, the EU reacted to this challenge based on its essentialist perception of political Islam and its overarching interest in regional stability and security. However, the growing salience of 'contingencist' interpretations of political Islam and the resolution of the EU's democratisation-stabilisation dilemma in the wake of the Arab Spring have recently provided an opportunity for greater engagement and cooperation. This has enabled a switch in EU policies from a strategy of containment to a strategy of engagement. Despite this, problems remain as the EU continues to expect Islamist actors to adjust to its own discursive framework and as intra-European divisions revive as a result of the renewal of secular-religious divisions in the neighbourhood. This will complicate EU attempts to build a new partnership with Islamist democracies and will fuel old stereotypes and animosities.
Keywords: EU, political Islam, CFSP, democratisation, Arab Spring
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The French Debate on National Identity and the Sarkozy Presidency: A Retrospective
Jonathan Laurence and Gabriel Goodliffe
Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency presented a mixed record on the issues of Muslim immigration and integration. On the one hand, his administration took novel and constructive steps to advance the integration of Muslim immigrants into French society, notably through the granting of unprecedented official recognition and institutional representation to Islam in the country. On the other, by placing the immigration issue at the centre of his 2012 re-election strategy, he overshadowed and undermined the effectiveness of these integrative policies. Given the country's worsening economic outlook and rising unemployment, immigration is therefore likely to remain as salient and difficult an issue under the new Hollande administration as it was under Sarkozy's.
Keywords: France, immigration policy, Sarkozy, Islam
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Muslim Organisations and Intergenerational Change in Germany
Dirk Halm
The process of social integration of the people associated with immigrant organisations, and the social (and potentially religious) change that comes with it, present the organisations with the difficult challenge of justifying their legitimacy to various societal actors. This is certainly true of Muslim organisations in Western immigration societies. In Germany, this process is quite clearly reflected within the community of established organisations, which play a part in creating intergenerational change. This is not to say, however, that they will be the only relevant - or even the predominant - actors involved in establishing Islam in Germany in the future, despite their roots in their countries of origin, nor that they will automatically become redundant over time.
Keywords: Germany, Islam, organisations, intergenerational change
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Muslims in Italy: The Need for an 'Intesa' with the Italian State
Karim Mezran
Muslims in Italy are now a consistent, although not new, phenomenon in the social and political panorama of the country. Like other communities, they are in search of an agreement with the state that would allow them to live and prosper within a legal framework that guarantees rights and duties. Unfortunately, attempts at achieving such an agreement have come up against a wall of prejudice and fear from the Italian population, as well as a lack of courage and foresight on the part of Italian state institutions. The problems and difficulties associated with the struggle of Italian Muslims in reaching an intesa are outlined and analytically presented along with a discussion of how integration may lead to the type of pluralism and tolerance enshrined in the Italian constitution.
Keywords: Italy, Muslims, intesa, immigration
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The Netherlands and Islam: In Defence of Liberalism and Progress?
Saskia van Genugten
With the elections of 2012, the main party driving the Islam debate in the Netherlands was sidelined. The new government of Liberals and Social Democrats is trying to re-bury the contentious issue, not least because Islam-related questions have had a onfusing effect on their parties. Nonetheless, with societal concerns lingering, the topic is likely to reappear. In the Netherlands, the wariness towards (Islamic) immigration is not rooted in fears of ethnic or religious competition. Instead, it tends to receive serious political attention only when cloaked as a defence of secularist and liberal values. As such, curbing Islamic practices is presented as a way to protect a (self-promoted) image of the Netherlands as a nonjudgemental and tolerant place. The paradox remains that that self-image was traditionally meant to include minorities, not to exclude them.
Keywords: The Netherlands, Islam, Dutch politics, populism
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Islam and the Muslim Communities in the UK: Multiculturalism, Faith and Security
Catherine Fieschi and Nick Johnson
This piece examines the relationship of Muslim communities to the UK mainstream between 2005 and 2010. Using the dual backdrop of the country's embedded multiculturalism policy and its counter-terrorism strategy implemented through the Prevent agenda, the authors brush a picture of a tense yet ultimately resilient relationship. While Prevent was often accused of leading to a securitisation of community policy, it is arguable that tensions have led to increased visibility and leadership capacity from the Muslim community, and a recognition of their role and diversity on behalf of the public and the government.
Keywords: Britain, Muslim, communities, multiculturalism, security
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Identity, Solidarity, and Islam in Europe
Erik Jones
Populists argue that Islamic immigrants are fundamentally different from Europeans. As evidence, they point to notions of religious and cultural identity. Such arguments have popular resonance. As more mainstream politicians pick up on these themes, they begin to take on an air of common sense. Nevertheless, they are mistaken. Europe has a long track record of reconciling competing identities. This has happened by focusing on patterns of interaction (solidarity) rather than obvious indicators of distinctiveness. Using the examples of the Netherlands and Turkey, this article illustrates the wide spectrum of European approaches to the challenge of getting different groups to share the same geographic space.
Keywords: Identity, solidarity, Europe, Islam, accommodation, assimilation
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Book Reviews

An Encouraging Account of Muslim Integration in Europe
Sanam Vakil
Review of: The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims. The State's role in Minority Integration, by Jonathan Laurence, Princeton University Press, 2012
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The Mission of a Mosque
Camille Pecastaing
Review of: Only Muslim. Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France, by Naomi Davidson, Cornell University Press, 2012
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Recent Publications
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